While the Kinahans get all the PR for all the Wrong Reasons, the Monk Gerry Hutch keeps a Low Profile; let us not Forget he got Plastic Surgery, and he could look like Dustin the Turkey? Who Knows?

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Hutch gang spent months planning Regency Hotel attack, Assistant Commissioner says

Mr Leahy was in charge of policing the entire city from April 2017 until his retirement last July, but before that he was the officer commanding inner city Dublin – where most of the 18 men murdered in the Kinahan-Hutch feud were killed

Garda cordon outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin
Garda cordon outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin (Image: PA)

THE Hutch gang spent months planning the Regency Airport Hotel attack, the man who was in charge of policing Dublin during the deadly feud says today.

“We know that the planning for the Regency went on for months but that was the Hutch way anyway,” former Assistant Commissioner tells The Star.

And, five years on from the daring attack that saw Kinahan sidekick David Byrne shot dead before the drugs cartel launched a fierce campaign of retaliation, Mr Leahy:

•Opens up about the stress of trying to keep the peace in the city at the time
•Reveals how he told senior gardai he and they would have to consider their positions if one the Hutch family members being protected by the force were shot dead in their own homes
* Blames the failure of gardai to prevent the Regency on the consequences of years of cuts and austerity
•Believes mobster Daniel Kinahan could be thrown out of his Dubai bolthole, and
•Says he often becomes emotional when he remembers watching a uniformed garda battling to keep innocent Martin O’Rourke alive after the cartel shot him by mistake.

Mr Leahy was in charge of policing the entire city from April 2017 until his retirement last July, but before that he was the officer commanding inner city Dublin – where most of the 18 men murdered in the Kinahan-Hutch feud were killed.

Mr Leahy says as soon as he heard that the Regency Airport Hotel was attacked and that David Byrne (33) was shot dead he knew there would be a fierce reaction from the Kinahans.
He says: “I knew we were in trouble.

We met almost immediately after the Regency in our own division even though we weren’t investigating it. I ended up pulling in all my senior officers and told him ‘there is going to be a response we need to gear up, we need to be ready for this’.

But he says he was shocked by how quickly the cartel responded – by murdering Eddie, the 58-year-old brother of their top target Gerry ‘The Monk” Hutch 57, just three days later in Mr Leahy’s area.
He says: “I think everybody was taken by surprise.

10/02/16 Flowers at The Regency Airport Hotel, Dublin this afternoon

“The way it happened was quite brutal even though we were gearing up for that stage nobody would have imagine that they were going to come so quickly.”

That killing was the start of a brutal reign of terror in the city centre by the Kinahans – with nine out 15 feud related killings taking place there.

And Mr Leahy now says the Kinahan rampage in the city appeared to be unending.
“It was the dynamic way in which it hit and in which it kept hitting,” he says.
“It was relentless violence.

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“It just kept coming – that is what caught us all by surprise.
“There seemed to be no end to it.”
And he says he believed the fact that members of the Hutch gang had previously been involved with Kinahan made the feud even more bitter.

“It was personal,” he says.
“People talk about this being two groups going head-to-head, but it wasn’t.
“This was one group imploding
.

“They knew each other personally, they had grown up with each other.
“They were in business together. They trusted each other.
“Some of them that end up doing the killings, they had gone to school with the people they were shooting. They lived around the corner from them.

“They knew them in the community growing up, so it was hugely personal.”
Mr Leahy says he believes the Kinahans acted in an unplanned rampage after the Regency – whereas the Hutch gang had carefully rehearsed its attack on the hotel.

Bouquets at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra (Image: Collins Photo Agency)

(The Kinahans) did not plan this at all. “It was a response to the Regency immediately.
“We know that the planning for the Regency went on for months, but that was Hutch way anyway.”
And he says the senior Hutch criminal behind the attack was the exact opposite of chaotic Daniel Kinahan.

He says: “He is a long game player he is a deep thinker.
“Everything he has ever done has been well thought out and that is what he is known for.
“(But) the Kinahans were very much out of the traps.
“They were ‘this is what we’re doing, we’re doing it now and tomorrow’.”

The absence of gardai at the Regency Hotel for the attack even though it was well-flagged and reporters were has seen the force come under attack – but Mr Leahy denies it was a failure of policing.
Instead, he says it showed the full effect on the force of years of austerity.

He says: “I don’t think it was a systemic failure of policing, but what I do think is that we were coming out of a huge recession and a lot of the resources that would have been available, the bodies were dying the training was dying the financial resources were dying.

“You really were just focusing on what it was to keep policing going.
“We lost about 25 per cent of our numbers so we were really just keeping it together.
“When the Regency happened, it was the nature of the times we were in.

We weren’t prepared enough at the time to deal with it as efficiently as we should have, but that was as a consequence of the economy being in the toilet for so long at that stage.”

A Garda cordon outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin
            after one man died and two others were injured following a
            shooting incident at the hotel
A Garda cordon outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel (Image: PA)

The Kinahan campaign after the Regency was so serious that Mr Leahy had to order more than 40,000 high profile armed checkpoints in the city – and to place uniformed gardai at the homes of key members of the Hutch family, including Gerry’s brothers John and Patsy to deter gun attacks.

And Mr Leahy told The Star that he warned his senior officers he and they might have to resign if the Kinahans breached security and killed one of the targets the protected homes.

He says: “I can remember having a conversation with my superintendents and saying ‘look guys we’re responsible for people’s safety around here we are the blue line here there is nobody coming to help us now that isn’t already here.
“But if somebody gets killed at their home we need to consider our positions.
“That is how serious it got for us.

“I would have been put under pressure if they were being killed in their homes and we knew where they lived.
“People would have been able to ask very serious awkward questions that I would not have liked to have been answering.”
The response to the Kinahan campaign saw gardai working day and night to prevent more killings and Mr Leahy paid tribute to the officers who saved dozens of lives in that time.

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He says: “They worked every hour that God sent.
“They stood on checkpoints, they sat in cars outside the homes of people that they had only seen as criminals for many years but they were there and they were going to protect them and they were going to protect the community.
I was proud of them I was proud of how they behaved and what they did they put themselves in harm’s way.”

And he says he still becomes emotional when thinking of how he watched a female garda try to save the life of innocent Martin O’Rourke (24) killed by mistake by the Kinahans on central Dublin’s Sheriff Street in April 2016.

Mr Leahy says: “I can remember watching a young female guard on her knees at the triangle there in Sheriff St trying to give CPR to a dying man after being shot mistakenly.
“She was on her knees. Honest to God every time I think of it I choke up.

“They were all standing around watching and there she was in full uniform on her knees trying to breathe life into him.
“I could not be more proud of how the guards performed throughout all of this.
“They never gave up.”

There have been no killing in the feud since January 2018 and Mr Leahy says he believed that was because so many bosses had been jailed by gardai for serious crimes.

He says: “Their top tier in terms of those who would deliver the punch for them and do any planning on the ground, almost all of them have been taken out.

Some serious players are doing really long sentences.”
But he adds that the State put pressure on Kinahan – even though he was abroad.

He says: “It wasn’t just the Garda response to this, it was a whole of state response.
“This was an attack on our democracy.
“There was somebody abroad directing murders in Ireland at a rate that we had never seen before.
“Everybody in the justice system took their place and lined up.

The state has only done that on a few occasions in history really where all the resource is or aligned on the resource is are made available and they have a single objective.
“No gang is ever going to withstand that.”

That international backlash has also seen Dubai, where Kinahan (43) is holed up come under pressure for hosting him – and Mr Leahy believes he may soon be booted out.

He says: “There is really nowhere they can go.
“I would hate to be depending on a particular country that I am living in to protect me long term.
“At some stage they will find themselves very much alone and very much cut off.”

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